38 Special Powder


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viking499
January 4, 2013, 06:06 PM
What is good powder for shooting and sd loads for a 2-4" barrel?

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beatledog7
January 4, 2013, 06:14 PM
Bullseye!

Also Titegroup and W231.

4895
January 4, 2013, 06:21 PM
I like W-231 for my .38 spl loads. I am almost out of it (less than 1/4 lb.) and went to buy some more. Ha-Ha. I don't know what I was thinking. It is all out of stock at LGS and online. I did buy a lb. of Universal Clay's to try instead. I have never used it but I know it has a lot of recommendations here. Seems like now is the time to bring the load manual to the LGS and buy whatever powder onhand that will work. Might find a new favorite.

Miata Mike
January 4, 2013, 06:53 PM
HP-38/W231. Bullseye should work well in a short barrel I would think.

Magnum Shooter
January 4, 2013, 07:05 PM
The 38spl has been loaded with Bullseye for over 100 years and still going strong. HP38 was made for the 38spl and W231 is the same powder.

Starter52
January 4, 2013, 07:58 PM
Another vote for WW 231. Red Dot is good also; 5.0 grains of Red Dot and a 158 grain Lead SWC is my favorite +P load for larger revolvers.

oneounceload
January 4, 2013, 08:03 PM
You can also use any good powder designed for 12 gauge target loads, like Clays, Universal Clays, Red Dot, Clay Dot, etc.

USSR
January 4, 2013, 08:13 PM
You can also use any good powder designed for 12 gauge target loads, like Clays, Universal Clays, Red Dot, Clay Dot, etc.

+1. Same goes for .45 ACP loads.

Don

oldpapps
January 4, 2013, 08:45 PM
I used 231, before that 230, before that Unque. Haven't loaded 38s in close to 30 years. Can't see where much would change.

ETXhiker
January 4, 2013, 09:04 PM
Bullseye is economical and generally very accurate in .38 SPL. Be aware that this powder doesn't fill the case very much and if you double charge one you have to look closely to notice. Fast powders are like that. Just do a visual check of all the cases before you seat the bullets.

ArchAngelCD
January 4, 2013, 09:33 PM
I use almost nothing other than W231/HP-38...

Kevin Rohrer
January 4, 2013, 09:51 PM
Smart reloaders go *safe* :) over *economical* :scrutiny:. Use a powder (e.g. Unique) that fills the case at least half way. Using such a powder lets you know when you double-charge a case. :what:

gamestalker
January 4, 2013, 09:53 PM
I have been going with Longshot and HS6 with excellent results. At the upper end of the data, Longshot gets me in the mid 1200's fps shooting a 125 gr. JHP, HS6 about the same.

GS

viking499
January 4, 2013, 10:07 PM
Sounds like 231 is going to win.....I have some extra of it.

beatledog7
January 4, 2013, 11:22 PM
Smart reloaders go *safe* over *economical* . Use a powder (e.g. Unique) that fills the case at least half way.

Smart reloaders use the powder that's best for the application and double check their charges.

joneb
January 5, 2013, 12:12 AM
For 38spl I use Bullseye and W-231, but when I am out of Bullseye I will give Accurate #2 a try.

Kevin Rohrer
January 5, 2013, 09:41 AM
Smart reloaders use the powder that's best for the application and double check their charges.

Not too smart in my book. Mistakes happen, even with the most careful reloaders. Using a bulky powder is a failsafe.

gamestalker
January 5, 2013, 09:43 AM
I'm with loading smart over economical, which is why I like HS6 and Longshot.

GS

918v
January 5, 2013, 10:00 AM
Not too smart in my book. Mistakes happen, even with the most careful reloaders. Using a bulky powder is a failsafe.

Mistakes do not happen if one looks inside the case prior to bullet seating.

Even Unique does not fill half the case with most book loads. The only powders that fit your paranoid requirement are Blue Dot, 2400, Trail Boss, and those meant for high pressure magnum applications. They are inappropriate for the 38 Special.

Reloaders need to pay attention to reloading.

Cervus canadensis
January 5, 2013, 11:24 AM
I have been using W231 with good results.

bensdad
January 5, 2013, 11:33 AM
I use Bullseye. It's economical. It works great. I check my cases. It ain't rocket surgery.

Kevin Rohrer
January 5, 2013, 07:26 PM
The only powders that fit your paranoid requirement

I have never heard taking a reasonable step to prevent unsafe charges as being "paranoid". It takes all kinds...

sbrader
January 5, 2013, 07:28 PM
The only powders that fit your paranoid requirement are Blue Dot, 2400, Trail Boss, and those meant for high pressure magnum applications. They are inappropriate for the 38 Special.

I disagree when it comes to Trail Boss. I use TB all the time for light recoiling loads rounds for my wife. It's a great powder for that and impossible to accidentally double charge.

sellersm
January 5, 2013, 07:36 PM
For the higher velocity for SD, I'd look at HS-6 or Unique.

ScratchnDent
January 5, 2013, 07:38 PM
I use Bullseye for my snubs and Unique for anything with a barrel over 3.5 inches.

Clark
January 5, 2013, 07:48 PM
918v

Not too smart in my book. Mistakes happen, even with the most careful reloaders. Using a bulky powder is a failsafe.
Mistakes do not happen if one looks inside the case prior to bullet seating.

Even Unique does not fill half the case with most book loads. The only powders that fit your paranoid requirement are Blue Dot, 2400, Trail Boss, and those meant for high pressure magnum applications. They are inappropriate for the 38 Special.

Reloaders need to pay attention to reloading.

I really like Blue dot in .223 for downloading to 218 Bee levels for shooting up to 100 ground squirrels per hour.

But because of the chance of a light fill followed by a heavy fill or a double charge, I can't recommend it to anyone unless the really know what they are doing.

CraigC
January 6, 2013, 10:08 AM
Mistakes do not happen if one looks inside the case prior to bullet seating.
Exactly! "Smart reloaders" inspect every case before seating bullets.

5thSFGroup
January 6, 2013, 11:36 AM
HS 6 for the .38 AND .357 mag. Also, .40 caliber S&W does very well on that diet.

mnhntr
January 6, 2013, 11:33 PM
A#5

hueyville
January 7, 2013, 04:04 AM
HP-38, Unique and Bullseye. Any gun I own gets at least 3 powder types tried. Never know which one a gun will like and which bullets. There is plenty of data for .38 in most all manuals.

SlamFire1
January 7, 2013, 09:11 AM
I have shot thousands upon thousands of 38 Special rounds using 3.5 grains of Bullseye with LSWC, JHP, LRN, LBBFPRN, etc. Point of aim between the bullets type is close enough that I cannot tell a difference between bullets. I truly think that my flinch causes more variation in impact than bullet configuration. Velocities are so similar it would take a statistical analysis, (perhaps Students T test?) to see if there is a velocity difference between a LSWC and a LRN of the same alloy.

I have shot that load in many revolvers, some I still own, some I do not. I have shot that load in 38 Snubbies, four inch barreled 38s, and 357 Revolvers. It shoots very well. I have also tried a couple other powders, with 125 gr Bullets, all of which are below. And there are a few 148 LWC data in the mix along with factory rounds to give a reality check on my loads. This is real world data, not shot from pressure barrels.

The dumped charges are as similar as I can make them, given a Dillion progressive, there are variations due to which primers I used. Primer use is based on who was making the cheapest primer at the time of loading. Winchester has been the consistently low cost primer maker for a while, most loads are WSP.

I have never found a need to use the same case, so I am using brass that has been fired God Knows how many times and a rainbow of headstamps. All of which shoot fine.

I have shot other powders and other loads, but Bullseye is so constantly accurate and shoots to Point of Aim in the fixed sight revolvers, that I have standardized on that load and powder and see no reason to chase the Powder de jour . It also is close to the non +P factory ammunition I have shot in terms of velocity. So I consider this load equivalent to factory ammunition.



Colt Detective Special mfgr 1963

158 gr LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye thrown, CCI primers mixed cases

24-Jul-99 T = 100 F !

Average 751 fps
Standard Deviation 32 fps
Extreme Spread 90 fps
High 805
Low 715
Recorded shots 22

158 LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases 8-Jan-06 T = 52 F
Ave Vel = 675.9
Std Dev = 18.6
ES 96.18
High 723.9
Low 627.7
N = 50

158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases 8-Jan-06 T = 58 F
Ave Vel = 706.8
Std Dev = 15.55
ES 65.87
High 742.9
Low 677
N = 50

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Pistols%20various/ReducedColtDSChromed833724DSCN5855.jpg


S&W M638-3 Airweight Bodyguard

148 LWC Lead 2.7 grs Bullseye thrown Mixed Brass WSP
18-Mar-07 T = 52 F
Ave Vel = 611.6
Std Dev = 22.04
ES 75.92
High 648.1
Low 572.2
N = 25
little high

158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye Mixed brass WSP
18-Mar-07 T = 52 F
Ave Vel = 611.1
Std Dev = 9.64
ES 28.05
High 626.3
Low 598.3
N = 32
4-6" High accurate


S&W M637-2 2" barrel
158 LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases
6-Apr-07 T = 48 F
Ave Vel =679
Std Dev =16.48
ES 56.11
High 698.2
Low 642
N = 18

125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Lot BE 532 Mixed cases CCI 500
6-Apr-07 T = 48 F
Ave Vel = 763.9
Std Dev = 22
ES 78
High 806.5
Low 728.5
N = 15
Point aim OK

125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
9-Apr-06 T = 59 F
Ave Vel = 760.4
Std Dev = 27.33
ES = 82.1
High = 798.9
Low = 716.8
N = 19


125 Lead BBRNFP 4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
9-Apr-06 T = 64 F
Ave Vel = 827.9
Std Dev = 23.21
ES = 92.27
High = 879.4
Low = 787.1
N = 20

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/CheifSpecialDSCN5011-1.jpg

M10 S&W 4" barrel

148 LWC Valiant 2.7grs Bullseye W/W cases WSP
19-Apr-09 T ≈ 60-65 F

Ave Vel = 696.2
Std Dev = 12.04
ES = 48
High = 721.3
Low = 673.3
N = 32
v accurate, about 2" low, no leading, mild recoil

158 LRN Valiant 3.5grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
19-Apr-09 T ≈ 60-65 F

Ave Vel = 758
Std Dev = 22.86
ES = 100.9
High = 810.5
Low = 709.5
N = 32

158 LRN 3.5grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP Gamma Chrony
5-Aug-06 T = 100 F

Ave Vel = 796
Std Dev = 13.89
ES = 55.24
High = 813
Low = 757.9
N = 23



158 LRN 3.5grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
22-Dec-07 T = 52 F

Ave Vel = 768.6
Std Dev = 15.58
ES = 48.52
High = 787.6
Low = 739.1
N = 18



125 Valiant BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
9-Apr-06 T = 59 F

Ave Vel = 863.4
Std Dev = 30
ES = 70.78
High = 907.5
Low = 836.7
N = 6
Windage centered accurate
Elevation at least 4" low

125 Valiant BBRNFP 4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP
9-Apr-06 T = 64 F

Ave Vel = 945.6
Std Dev = 27.28
ES = 75.21
High = 995.2
Low = 920
N = 6
Windage centered accurate
Elevation at least 4" low


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/M10SW.jpg

Valor35
January 7, 2013, 01:50 PM
+1 on the Bullseye and Unique. I just check the case carefully.

USSR
January 7, 2013, 06:02 PM
Mistakes happen, even with the most careful reloaders. Using a bulky powder is a failsafe.

Charging a case without a primer in it is a "mistake"; not checking the powder level in a case prior to seating a bullet is a serious operator error.

Don

horsemen61
January 7, 2013, 06:03 PM
I like WINCHESTER 231 I think it is good stuff.

THe Dove
January 7, 2013, 07:06 PM
I have used pounds of Hodgen Titegroup and love it for plinking rounds. Some folks don't care for Titegroup as it doesn't take much and you can easily double charge a case if you aren't paying close attention when you reload. I do pay close attention when I reload.

To each his/her own and good loadn'!

The Dove

GLOOB
January 8, 2013, 01:31 PM
Smart reloaders go *safe* over *economical* . Use a powder (e.g. Unique) that fills the case at least half way. Using such a powder lets you know when you double-charge a case.
Since when is Unique not economical? Yeah, Alliant has a couple of slightly faster, more economical pistol powders. But Unique/Herco/Red Dot are right there, too. If you're using any medium fast Alliant pistol powder, you're being economical. At just over $14.00 a lb for commercial powder, you're gold with any of them.

You're talking a pretty small difference in cost between Bullseye/Titegroup and Unique! A grain difference would be 2 tenths of a cent. So you'd save a dollar every 500 rounds. Don't hold the press, or anything.

Mel1776
January 8, 2013, 04:22 PM
More votes for Bullseye, W231 & HP-38 (bought the HP-38 from a cousin so I have both W231 & HP-38) in my Detective Specials, Cobras, Agents and Magnum Carrys. Also run fine in my 2 1/2" and 4' Pythons. All of the powders used in loads for practice and plinking. SD loads are all factory.

HighExpert
January 10, 2013, 11:18 PM
Agree on the Bullseye. Here are a couple of loads that I have shot thousands of and work well.
.38 Special w/Red Dot Sight Model 52SW
HBWC 148gr (Star)
2.7 Bullseye
Flush
Match

.38 Special
JHP 125gr
4.2 Bullseye (4.4)
1.442 OAL
1169 FPS

gamestalker
January 10, 2013, 11:44 PM
You can't get a double charge of Longshot of HS in a 38 spcl case. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating powder choice with safety protocol. I'm an absolute anal reloader when it comes to how I go about it, but in more than 3 decades of being involved in this hobby I have had several double charged cases that spilled over the case mouth, and thus prevented me from having a catrostrophic event.

You couldn't get me to use a fast burning powder even if it was half the the cost of my slow burners, which in effect by how much I use compared to a more economical fast burner, I do use about twice as much.

And then there is the purpose of the load being developed. If I was wanting to load powder puff target loads, my powders wouldn't / can't serve the purpose. Bottom line is, we all have the privilage of choosing our methods and components, to which each has it's personal reason for such. So safety is the key here more than anything else, to which we each know our limits, or should know them. For me and based on a few double charges that could have slipped by me a number of years ago if not for the powder i was using, I am spooked and won't go down that path.

Sorry for the long and preached opinion. This topic just seemed to take a turn that sparked a nerve in me is all.

GS

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